Disabled talent recognised in birthday honours


Some of the country’s leading disabled creative, sporting academic and campaigning talents have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours.

One of Britain’s most successful record-producers, Robin Millar, was awarded a CBE. Millar has been responsible for 150 gold, silver and platinum discs and 44 number ones, but is also a business mentor and public speaker and fundraiser for causes such as Oxfam, UNICEF and Artists Against Apartheid.

He told Disability News Service: “When we go about our daily lives most of us just get on with it. I don’t think many people except outright careerists are taking a strategic view about what it all might mean later on.

“Goodness knows what it is that has prompted this award. I doubt very much if it was the nude modelling, though!”

Dr Jenny Morris, the veteran activist, academic, author and consultant, receives an OBE for services to disabled people.

Among her long list of credits, she led the independent living review for the Office for Disability Issues, was a member of the national working group on child protection and disability, and has written reports on support for disabled parents and the social exclusion faced by disabled teenagers with high support needs.

Dr Rachel Perkins, who last year carried out a well-received review for the government on helping people with mental health conditions into work, receives an OBE for services to mental health.

She is a clinical psychologist and a director at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, and has just joined the government’s advisory network of disabled people, Equality 2025.

She said: “This is a really great honour, but it does not reflect my work alone. I am deeply committed to enabling people with mental health conditions to rebuild their lives and in particular to gain jobs and pursue their careers.”

But she said the award was as much due to the hard work and dedication of staff and service-users at the trust, who help more than 600 people with mental health conditions find work every year, while others study or take up volunteering opportunities.

Steve Scott, who chairs the Dwarf Athletic Association UK, receives an MBE for services to disabled people and disability sport. Scott, who says he is an “influencer” rather than a “campaigner”, has been involved in disability rights for more than 15 years.

He is an external affairs executive for Remploy, but is currently on secondment with the Department for Work and Pensions, working on the government’s Access to Work policy. He also works with disabled people in Manchester as a volunteer.

He said: “It is very nice to be recognised but there are lots of people that do a lot more work than I do.”

He said much of his work focused on making sure barriers were removed so that disabled people could take part in employment, sport and any other activities.

He has also helped to “reposition” Remploy as a provider of mainstream – rather than segregated – employment services, and to ensure that disabled people’s organisations “may not necessarily like Remploy but understand why it’s there”, while also feeding their views back to Remploy.

Three former Paralympic sportswomen were recognised for services to disability sport.

Carol Walton, who receives an OBE, won 10 Paralympic gold medals at seven Paralympic Games, is now a member of the executive committee of the wheelchair sports charity WheelPower, and works for ParalympicsGB.

She competed in swimming, athletics, fencing, table-tennis and basketball, and managed the British wheelchair fencing team.

Ann Wild, who also receives an OBE, played in her first senior wheelchair basketball international at the age of 13, represented Britain at five Paralympics, captained the British team for 15 years before retiring in 2009, and is a successful coach. She is now hoping to qualify for London 2012 in rowing.

Nicola Tustain, who receives an MBE, won three gold and three bronze Paralympic medals in dressage, and is also an accomplished badminton player.

Another recognised from the sporting arena is Geoff Holt, who receives an MBE. In January, he became the first quadriplegic person to sail across the Atlantic single-handed. He was honoured for services to disability sailing.

Former lawyer Olivia Giles has been awarded an OBE for her charity work. She runs the charity 500 Miles, which supports amputees and other disabled people in Malawi and Zambia.

Lisa Charlton receives an MBE for voluntary services to disabled people. She helped set up the north-east branch of Different Strokes, which provides support services to young stroke survivors and is run by stroke survivors.

Different Strokes North-East celebrates its tenth anniversary in September.  She said she was “absolutely delighted” by the MBE, which was “a big shock”.

Charlton is a trustee of both RNIB and Newcastle Society for Blind People, works part-time as a fundraiser for Citizens Advice, and raises funds for the other charities she volunteers for.

She said there was still a “real lack of awareness” that younger people can have strokes.

16 June 2010

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